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Friday, September 19, 2008

Relient K - Apathetic EP (Gotee/Capitol)

Sounds like … the punk rock and power pop of MxPx and Jimmy Eat World, with some acoustic rock renditions of previous Relient K songs and a couple of Ben Folds-styled piano pop tracks.

At a glance … offering songs both old and new, Apathetic is an enjoyable and well-executed mix of styles, but not all fans will appreciate Relient K's continually maturing sound.

Successful bands like Relient K can't release music fast enough for their fans, or their record labels. So to continue riding the momentum of the Gold-certified mmHmm album, and furthering the band's tradition for releasing little morsels between their full-length projects, we have the Apathetic EP to whet our appetites.

With only 24 minutes of music, it's surprising this mini-album has enough time to be so mixed. Apathetic begins with the band's familiar punk pop/rock style for the first two songs: "The Truth," about wrestling with unbelief, and "Apathetic Way to Be," previously included on the vinyl release of mmHmm. Both are strictly business-as-usual for Relient K, which isn't bad for a band this good, but they do sound a tad recycled.

More interesting are three acoustic renditions of songs from the last two albums because they're such a sonic departure. You wouldn't expect hard and angry rocker "Which to Bury …" to be successfully reinterpreted as straightforward acoustic pop. Confessional prayer "Be My Escape" remains catchy, instrumented with acoustic guitar and mandolin-and oddly reminiscent of '90s Canadian band Hokus Pick. Particularly striking is "Over Thinking," transformed into easy-going piano pop similar to Ben Folds. Speaking of which, the final two tracks are also piano pop ballads....

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